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Monday message board

February 26th, 2007

It’s time, once again for the Monday Message Board. As usual, civilised discussion and absolutely no coarse language, please.

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  1. February 26th, 2007 at 08:38 | #1

    Surely this should be front-page news around the world today: US PLANES ARE DROPPING BOMBS ON BAGHDAD.

    Think about it. After four years of occupation, US forces are still forced to resort to brutal, inhumane tactics like this. What can you say?

    Here’s Juan Cole:

    This is absolutely shameful, that the US is bombing from the air a civilian city that it militarily occupies. You can’t possibly do that without killing innocent civilians, as at Ramadi the other day. It is a war crime. US citizens should protest and write their congressional representatives. It is also the worst possible counter-insurgency tactic anyone could ever have imagined. You bomb people, they hate you.

    When and if the dead children are ever paraded on our TVs, will viewers understand who is responsible for this latest atrocity? Or are we only supposed to give a shit when the Al Quaeda terrorists kill innocent people, not the US terrorists?

  2. February 26th, 2007 at 08:52 | #2

    (I received this from mailing list the other day;)

    NSW Premier, Morris Iemma, said,

    “there is no point in saving the planet if we ruin the economy doing it”.

    From an article by John Carter was on page 24 of “The Land” on 8 Feb 2007.

    This remarkable quote from the Premier of New South Wales, Australia, deserves to go round and round the world and be repeated high and low just to warn the world and Australians of the dangerous idiot who controls the fate of many people. Please forward it for the sake of the planet and send a copy to Mr Iemma at lakemba [AT] parliament nsw gov au

  3. pseudonym (econowit)
    February 26th, 2007 at 09:05 | #3

    Labor Party “idiot who controls the fate of many people”

    James, I am in total agreement with you; it is scary considering he has already ruined the NSW economy.

  4. February 26th, 2007 at 09:12 | #4

    Meanwhile, I wonder what Prof Q and his fellow economists make of the latest US poverty figures?

    The plight of the severely poor is a distressing sidebar to an unusual economic expansion. Worker productivity has increased dramatically since the brief recession of 2001, but wages and job growth have lagged behind. At the same time, the share of national income going to corporate profits has dwarfed the amount going to wages and salaries. That helps explain why the median household income of working-age families, adjusted for inflation, has fallen for five straight years.
    These and other factors have helped push 43 percent of the nation’s 37 million poor people into deep poverty – the highest rate since at least 1975.

    It seems to me that this story is largely being ignored because economists do not see major changes in their standard Economics 101 figures and tables, which have been radically skewed by massive corporate profits. Wall Street sails merrily on and the Prez touts a healthy, growing economy, but this ugly reality cannot be swept under the carpet and ignored forever.

  5. February 26th, 2007 at 09:23 | #5

    Econwit, glad we are in some agreement.

    However, my problem with Iemma and the Labor party, is that they have allowed themselves to become corrupted by free market ideology that rightly belongs only in the Liberal Party.

    Iemma’s words, in fact articulate what are also the practices of the Federal Liberal government which believes that we can go on indefinitely exporting ever greater volumes of coal as the polar and Greenland ice caps melt.

    In spite of Iemma’s idiocy, I think voters still need, at the very tail end of their voting preferences, to put Labor just ahead of Liberals in the coming NSW state elections.

    I would not vote for an opposition, who are no better, in practice, than Iemma in regards to the environment and which advocates the destruction of 20,000 more public seervice jobs.

  6. February 26th, 2007 at 10:02 | #6

    Meanwhile meanwhile, the UK government has confirmed that Big Oil helped draft the new Iraq Oil Law. Not surprisingly, the wording turns out to be very, very important:

    The law, which is being discussed by the Iraqi cabinet before being put to the parliament, says the untapped oil would remain state-owned but that contracts would be drawn up giving private sector firms the exclusive right to extract it.

    ‘There is this fine line, that the wording is seeking to draw, that allows companies to claim that the oil is still Iraqi oil, whereas the extraction rights belong to the oil companies,’ says Kamil Mahdi, an Iraqi economist at Exeter University.

  7. February 26th, 2007 at 10:02 | #7

    Meanwhile meanwhile, the UK government has confirmed that Big Oil helped draft the new Iraq Oil Law. Not surprisingly, the wording turns out to be very, very important: The law, which is being discussed by the Iraqi cabinet before being put to the parliament, says the untapped oil would remain state-owned but that contracts would be drawn up giving private sector firms the exclusive right to extract it.

    ‘There is this fine line, that the wording is seeking to draw, that allows companies to claim that the oil is still Iraqi oil, whereas the extraction rights belong to the oil companies,’ says Kamil Mahdi, an Iraqi economist at Exeter University.

  8. February 26th, 2007 at 10:04 | #8

    oops sorry for the double post. I’ll go back in my box now.

  9. pseudonym (econowit)
    February 26th, 2007 at 10:27 | #9

    James,

    I do not take sides politically; one party or another should not rule for too long and hopefully they can alternate them every term. I generally always vote against the incumbent.

    I agree when you say “an opposition, who are no better, in practice�

    It is us and ‘them’. Them being the élite political ruling class. (The 1% of the population, who are members of political parties, but hold 100% of the power). They only maintain the charade of a political divide so they can divide and conquer the other 99% of the population. Their only interests are their own and that of their funders (donors)

    They can build solar-thermal steam storage power stations to replace the coal ones when they wear out or need a new one. They cost the same to build and would generate the same amount of power. They are cheaper to run over a longer period as sun light is free. The only drawback is that there is no coal input, so no taxes, royalties and donations that are going to go the political élite. There is very little political will to have them built.

    http://www.chrisharris.org.au/?p=125

    As I said 99% of people would want them, but the 1% élite political ruling class have a vested interest in ensuring they aren’t.

  10. February 26th, 2007 at 11:16 | #10

    pseudonym (econowit),

    I think it was a terrible mistake for the Australian to have voted against the incumbent in 1996 as appalling as Keating and his government was.

    The best outcome in 1996 in my view would have been a rejection of Howard by the lectorate and a much larger vote for parties and candidatese who stood for something better than the Labor Party, including, for all their flaws, the Greens and the Democrats.

    What we got instead was an enormous step backwards towards Dickensian times and levels of democracy, accountability and government honesty far worse than anything that we had to put up with when Keating was in office.

    The same will almost certainly to be true in NSW if the Liberal oppostion wins the forthcoming elections.

    In spite of Iemma, I think it is still important to put the Liberals last on the ballot form.

    Re Solar: it still requires fossil fuel energy to manufacture solar panels. It will prove very difficult to make solar energy ‘bootstrapable’, that is to be able to use the diffuse energy received from the sun in order to be able to mine, extract, process and fabricate all the materials necessary to make more solar energy panels.

    Of course we should still turn to alternatives to fossil fuel, but the only real solution is to reduce our consumption of energy, and this will be impossible to achieve, if we continue to increase our population. (see http://www.population.org.au)

  11. conrad
    February 26th, 2007 at 13:41 | #11

    James S,

    I think you are far too negative about solar. Even if it does require initial energy, I don’t see what the fuss is given the life-time of energy savings from the panel. In addition, the estimates from some of the solar companies seem to suggest it will only take around 10 years for them to become competitive with more traditional energy sources (presumably even less if things like particulate and CO2 emissions etc. were priced into coal and other fuel supplies).

    In addition, I’m not sure why you blame population growth given that most of the growth is occuring in areas where people use very little energy. Most of the growth in energy consumption is going to come from places like China, India, and the US, and all of these countries are or will become comparitively low population growth countries (Brazil also comes to mind). Furthermore, the growth in population of these countries has very little to do with their growth in energy consumption — at least for India and China, its mainly due to increased affluence.

  12. stephen bartos
    February 26th, 2007 at 15:44 | #12

    I drove to yet another meeting today, in a car that was emitting greenhouse gases, and while doing so reflected on just how difficult our current patterns of work make it to be environmentally more responsible. Without a job that involved having to meet people in different places in short order, I could either cycle or take public transport for almost all the necessities of life; but unfortunately that’s not the case. I suspect I’m not alone – and that if we want seriously to address global warming, among various other measures we also need to consider how to adjust how work is arranged across the economy. It’d have to be across the board – otherwise, the argument is presumably that those people who care about global warming ought to give up their present jobs or inconveniently rearrange them, while those who can’t care less carry on regardless (which doesn’t seem either fair or likely to induce much behavioural change). Of course, pricing emissions to include externalities would force such an adjustment; but its interesting to speculate on what these adjustments will have to be: more flexible working hours, places of work distributed geographically rather than concentrated in CBDs, fewer meetings (right…believe that when I see it; been promised for decades but never seems to happen!). any other thoughts?

  13. February 26th, 2007 at 18:57 | #13

    Various members of the Federal Government have suggested that Maxine McKew would not make a suitable member of parliament, which may or may not be nonsense, if the former reflecting a pathetic level of debate. So their apparent concern raises the question, in the shadow of the announcement that Pauline Hanson is standing for the Senate, as what are the criteria for a representative? Given the electoral system, this decision lies principally with the major parties. Or, is this just another example of the maxim that the political system does not work perfectly, but works well enough?

    Conventional wisdom has it, that Howard is a great political genius, so on that belief he has nothing to worry about, and McKew’s candidature is irrelevant.

  14. Jill Rush
    February 26th, 2007 at 23:09 | #14

    Maxine McKew has really rattled the cages of the Liberals. Tony Abbott damns with faint praise and Andrew Robb belittels her credibel nomination by describing it as a stunt.

    Maxine McKew is widely admired for her intelligence and humour as well as her knowledge of many political topics.

    The Liberals are clearly annoyed that they are being outmanouevred by the Labor Party. The claim that the PM spends most Fridays in his electorate office and has a good grass roots approach is hard to believe. After all last Friday he was cooped up with the Premiers hammering out the water deal. The previous Friday he was in Parliament.

    At least it has made the election more interesting although the man of steal would find it hard to be beaten by a woman. Maxine McKew will pick up both male and female votes but is exactly the kind of woman that otehr woman would like to represent them. Beats Pauline Hanson.

  15. gordon
    February 27th, 2007 at 09:22 | #15

    Maxine MKew may be the sort of woman that other women would like to represent them, but this isn’t supposed to be a popularity contest, it’s supposed to be an election. I for one am sad to lose a competent reporter in exchange for another muzzled and impotent ALP backbencher.

  16. Simonjm
    February 27th, 2007 at 11:52 | #16

    Gandhi thrown this in with your US poverty post.

    Social Status Affects Health and Longevity, Research Says

    Medical research suggests a person’s positioning on the social hierarchy ladder is intimately related to his or her risk of health and disease. Paul Solman reports on income inequality and the connection between what we earn and how long we live.

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business/jan-june07/income_02-23.html

    Could this be too good to be true?
    The Future of Garbage-
    Plasma furnace energy plant

    http://www.greenoptions.com/blog/2007/02/26/the_future_of_garbage

  17. Jill Rush
    February 27th, 2007 at 23:20 | #17

    Sorry Gordon – but elections are popularity contests. Why do you think pork barrelling is so likely in this Year of the Pig. It is why politicians kiss babies and shake hands.

    When voting we may think about the issues but more likely we think about who we trust. Popular people are generally seen as more trustworthy to deliver the things that appeal to the electorate.

  18. gordon
    February 28th, 2007 at 09:35 | #18

    Osama bin Forgotten? Here’s Seymour Hersh on the contortions of US “foreign policy” as that abandoned country tries to be the boss of everything and everybody, all the time, everywhere. My fears of a US invasion of Iran grow by the week.

  19. Simonjm
    February 28th, 2007 at 09:37 | #19

    Another too good to be true & from Fox News

    HHO fuel scource
    http://www.developmentcrossing.com/development_crossing/2007/02/amazing_a_water.html

  20. gordon
    March 1st, 2007 at 09:48 | #20

    Further to Ganhdi’s comment of 26/2/07, Max Sawicky reports that the Iraqi cabinet has now approved the new Iraq oil law, and that its adoption by the Iraqi parliament is a “done deal”. There are several useful links in Max’s post. Is there anybody out there still saying that this wasn’t an oil war? Or that the world isn’t warming?

  21. March 1st, 2007 at 20:34 | #21

    Is it just me or does anybody else find the large number of Ads for Australia Post a bit strange? It has after all a monopoly on small scale postage. I admit it has a retail business as well but the ads are not really aimed at that.
    My fear is it an early step in Campaign to sell Australia Post off via a public float and the ads are being used to raise public awareness of the the Post Office system. I can’t see it happening before the next election but if the government is re-elected it might happen as it is still a major asset in government hands which is a bit of a cash cow (low growth but large revenue).
    Or the price of stamps might just be going up.

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